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Founding Glutie Lets Inner Cowgirl Loose, Makes New Home in Wyoming

August 12th, 2009 by Brooke

One of our very own has run for the hills! Earlier this summer, founding glutie Samantha Abernethy graduated from theMedill School of journalism at Northwestern University. Shortly after, she threw caution to the wind, packed all of her belongings into a Ford Expedition and drove herself out west to pursue a unique opportunity as  a reporter in small-town Wyoming at a paper called the Pinedale Roundup.

After all her big city living, this move had the makings of a gluten free nightmare. However, to our surprise, just last week, this tweet popped up on Twitter: “SamAbernethy: I have found gluten free heaven, and it is in Pinedale, Wyoming.”

Sounds like she’s happy. And we’re happy she’s happy.

Just for kicks, below is an article in which her new employer introduced her to the community.

New reporter ready for Wyoming ‘adventure’
by Stephen Crane

She started writing for a newspaper as an ambitious 13-year-old , and now, Samantha Abernethy is back at it as the newest reporter here at the Roundup. She’s come a long way since those middle school days, when she covered the peewee football’s “Player of the Week” for the Tri-County News back in western Pennsylvania.

As a recent graduate from the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Abernethy comes to Pinedale with high hopes and a bright future.

“Some day, I would like to do long, indepth investigative work,” she said. “But right now, I really just want to improve my writing.

“And I sort of thought it would be a challenge to find the news here…force me to be a little more creative in finding good stories. It’s easy in Chicago to just say, ‘Oh, Mayor Daley did this or that.’”

Abernethy’s journalistic aspirations began during her work in military health research, which she did after obtaining her bachelor’s degree. Upon graduating
from Dickinson College with a degree in political science, she went to work for the Rand Corporation, a think tank in Washington D.C.

“When I was working on the military projects at Rand, there was an article in the Washington Post, by Dana Priest,” she recalled . “And it was about how poor the services were at Walter Reed (Army Medical Center). “After the article came out, the whole attitude changed, more money started coming in and there was just more attention on the research.”

She saw the power and influence of journalism , and she was captivated, which led her to Northwestern University.

“I moved to Chicago not having really seen it or knowing where I was going,” she said. She soon fell in love with the place. “I liked D.C., but I like Chicago better,” said Abernethy. “It’s friendlier, more downto earth. In D.C., people wear suits all the time, and Chicago is more of a blue-jeans city.”

Both urban locations are a far cry from her childhood home, however, back on
the family’s 60-acre farm in Harrisville, PA — a town of around 900 people. “We had a big hayfield, and the rest was pretty much woods,” she said. “But we were never serious farmers at all.”

The family did become the unofficial adoption agency for injured or malnourished horses in the area — and orphaned lambs too. “We used to take them in and keep them in the house, complete with diapers,” she said. She also got involved in 4-H , showing and riding horses in Western and English styles. From farm girl to big city gal, Abernethy isn’t afraid of a good adventure. And it’s that fact that brought her to Pinedale. “Wyoming and Montana, they always kind of had this draw — the horses, the wildlife,” she said. “And I think part of it is that my dad always used to talk about it a lot. He had a vacation here when he was like seven, and he still talks about it. “It’s an adventure. I just wanted an adventure .”

She arrived in Pinedale last weekend after a long drive west on I-90 , when she got to see not only Mt. Rushmore, but also the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD.

“It’s literally the corniest place on earth,” she joked.

Her favorite part of the trip however didn’t occur until she arrived in Wyoming. “My favorite was picking my mom up at the (Jackson) airport and forcing her to crumple into a ball because the car was so packed,” she laughed. Both her and her mom made it to Pinedale safely, however, and she’s been pleased with her experience thus far.

“It has surpassed my expectations actually ,” she said. “I was expecting it to be smaller, and a little sleepier. “There’s a lot more going on than I expected there to be, and I didn’t imagine anything this pretty.” But the beauty and outdoor activities of the area aren’t the only things she’s eager to experience. “I also look forward to eating all of the wildlife Pinedale has to offer,” she added. Surely, she’s lived here before.

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